Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Jul 192024

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth just came out at the end of January, but we’ll find out soon what RGG Studio has lined up next.

Back in May, Sega and RGG Studio opened up auditions for actresses to appear in the next Like a Dragon game. The 5 winners have now been announced in the latest live stream from RGG Studio.

The winners are Misoshiru, Ai Hongo, Enako, Kaho Shibuya, and Seiko Kirishima. The audition was to appear as both in-game models and in live action scenes, so the next game will probably have some sort of live action mini-game or side content again.

Unfortunately there are no subtitles for the live stream, so I can’t confirm what they’re talking about, but it seems RGG Studio also said their next game will be announced at Tokyo Game Show 2024.

It’s not clear if this is referring to the next Like a Dragon game that the auditions were for or something else. During a panel at Anime Expo, however, they reportedly said fans would be “surprised” by their next game.

For as fast as RGG Studio releases games, it feels a bit too soon to be announcing Like a Dragon 9, and that wouldn’t be a surprise unless they’re doing another genre shift. Maybe another Judgment game? A new Gaiden game, since they said its success made them interested in making more? A Kenzan remake? Or, hear me out, a spin-off starring Ichiban in a full fantasy RPG styled after Dragon Quest. Like a Dragon Quest.

Whatever it is, I’ll probably be interested in it.

Now, I’ve more or less been avoiding all Like a Dragon discussions since Infinite Wealth came out, to avoid spoilers. I still need to finish both that and Lost Judgment. Will I be done by the time of Tokyo Game Show, so that I can dive fully into whatever news this may be? Tokyo Game Show is a little over 2 months away, so… probably not. But I’m excited anyway!

What do you think RGG Studio is going to announce?

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Jul 152024

It’s time to talk about Final Fantasy XIV again!

Last year I finally played Stormblood after the winner of one of my contests picked a Stormblood playthrough & review as her prize, and that same winner won the Celebrating All Things Romantic contest back in February and picked the same for Shadowbringers.

(Yes, February. Shadowbringers took me a while.)

Note: talking about Shadowbringers is impossible without discussing its premise, so if you don’t want to know anything about what leads up to this expansion, stop reading now.

The post-Stormblood patches started out on about the same mixed level as Stormblood itself, but they quickly became more exciting as they began to build toward Shadowbringers. I’d say they were the most exciting patches yet, even beating the intensity of the patches after A Realm Reborn.

And so after a dramatic lead-in that brought us to another world, Shadowbringers began.

Different parts of Final Fantasy XIV have had different tones, and Shadowbringers is the closest it’s come to horror. Set in a world overtaken by the light, the survivors live in danger from the monstrous sin eaters. It’s filled with unsettling moments and creepy events that made me joke I’d started playing a horror game instead.

This also flips the usual situation on its head, as we see firsthand that an abundance of light is just as catastrophic as letting everything be overtaken by darkness, and although the main character has been known as the Warrior of Light, we now step into the role of the Warrior of Darkness trying to bring back the night.

It’s a great way to kick off the story with a decidedly different feel, although for the most part everything still follows the tried and true Final Fantasy XIV formula.

Maybe too much so. For the most part, the structure of Final Fantasy XIV has started to feel very formulaic to me. That goes double for dungeons; there’s now a system that lets you do main story dungeons with a party of NPCs, which I absolutely love, but even though I can theoretically explore to my heart’s content, there’s nothing to explore now. I disliked doing dungeons with other people because they always rushed through without giving me time to look around, and now that I can take my time, dungeons are basically a straight line from start to finish anyway.

But that’s not an indictment of Shadowbringers itself. In fact, a major change starting in the post-Stormblood patches is that there are occasionally set piece duties where you play as a different character. There was even a solo duty with some interesting mechanics besides just fighting. Things like that shake up the formula, so I hope to see more like it.

Now, the story is pretty interesting, although it does hit a bit of a lull in the middle parts. The end makes up for it, though, as it hits those same high notes as in the beginning with pretty exciting parts. I even ended up with a new favorite character.

Click for Shadowbringers spoilers
No, I’m not talking about Emet-Selch. I’m talking about G’raha Tia!

G’raha Tia was ready to sacrifice everything, to save both us and the world! He’s been through so much! Someone give this man a hug! He rose rapidly from a guy I barely remembered to being my #2 favorite character after Estinien. I love him, and I hope we get to take him with us from now on.

Now, as for my joke there at the start… I kinda don’t understand the obsession everyone has with Emet-Selch. He’s fine, probably the best antagonist in Final Fantasy XIV, and sure, he’s somewhat sympathetic… but I don’t know. Something about him just didn’t click with me like it did for a lot of fans.

So it started out strong, leveled out in the middle, and then peaked again for an epic conclusion. After thinking about it, I’ve decided Shadowbringers beats out Heavensward to become my favorite part of Final Fantasy XIV so far.

As always, I still need to get into the post-expansion patches before I’ll have completely wrapped up this storyline, and I intend to move on to those soon instead of taking such a long break this time. Endwalker is on the horizon! Although the next expansion is already out as well, there’s finally a very real chance that I’ll be caught up in time for the next one after that.

What did you think of Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers?

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Jul 032024

When we discussed the upcoming Anime Expo announcements, I mentioned that Xseed had a secret title to be announced ahead of time.

That game turned out to be Ys Memoire: The Oath in Felghana, which will be coming west for Switch, PS4, and PS5 sometime next year.

This… was not a huge shock, because on Sunday Xseed accidentally sent out a tweet meant for after Anime Expo, which showed The Oath in Felghana in place of the secret title placeholder. But whether you saw the accidental tweet, learned about it from the official announcement, or just found out right now, this is exciting news!

Since the Ys titles can get a little confusing, here’s a quick explanation. In 1989, Ys III: Wanderers from Ys was released. It was remade in 2005 as Ys: The Oath in Felghana, which was ported to the PSP in 2010 and then localized for both PC and PSP. In 2023, it was remastered for the Nintendo Switch as Ys Memoire: The Oath in Felghana, and that remaster was brought to the PS4 and PS5 earlier this year.

That is the version we’re talking about today – the remaster of the remake of the third Ys game.

According to the official website, it features quality of life improvements, remastered visuals and audio with the option to switch to the classic illustrations or between different versions of the soundtrack, and voice acting for Adol for the first time.

They also announced the “Refined Edition” (pictured above), which includes the game, a soundtrack, a postcard set, a microfiber cloth, and an acrylic keychain diorama set. Preorders have already opened for just $59.99, so I’m pretty tempted.

Ys is one of those series I’ve been slooowly getting into, so I’m not ready to play this one yet. Nevertheless, it’s great to see this remaster coming west (which also opens the door for other Xseed-published Falcom games to still appear despite NISA handling most of the new localizations now). I look forward to getting there eventually!

Are you interested in Ys Memoire: The Oath in Felghana?

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